About Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and co-administrator of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

NewsBites: The Turmoil Continues

NewsBitesDeep in the dank, dark, steamy recesses of the internet, somewhere between stories about the latest celebrity antics and pictures of cute kittens, is the stuff that matters – the stuff we call news.

News started out as an acronym for Not Especially Well Scrutinized, and we hold fast to that proud tradition here at Indies Unlimited, bringing you the very finest news we could scrounge up on short notice.

Remember, there may be a test later, so here is some stuff you might want to know:

A lot of people are excited at the news that Writer’s Digest and Author Solutions have parted ways. Though what happens behind the corporate veil stays behind the corporate veil, I am less sanguine than some that this means Writer’s Digest suddenly saw the light. The reputation of Author Solutions was there to see (for anyone who cared to look) long before this unholy union took place. That did not deter WD or Random Penguin from partnership with them.

Random Penguin Solutions may have other problems, though. Big Ink, whose motto is We’re not dead yet, posted pretty flat book sales figures with declines in a number of key areas. Looks like textbooks are propping up the crumbling walls of the ink empire. What’s going to happen when the academic world goes digital?

In the meantime, the standoff between Amazon and Hachette continues, with Hachette continuing to argue from the morally superior position that Amazon should just pay them whatever Hachette says and never mind the profit margins. Here is a play in five parts that nicely sums up the conflict between Amazon and Big Ink publishing. You don’t want to miss that one.

Other people suspect Bezos is the villain in the whole affair, going so far as to speculate Amazon is going to chop the 70% royalty rate it currently pays. Even if that were true, the 35% royalty rate is still twice what most trad publishers pay. Whether Amazon pulls the trigger on that idea or not, supporting dinosaur publishers hardly seems the correct play.

That’s it for this edition of NewsBites. Join us next time, when we answer the question: Are the penguins really as random as they seem, or is there a pattern?

Title Twins: What Happens When Your Book has the Same Title as Another Book?

Authors want their books to have a unique and memorable title. I know a lot of authors who will not even tell anyone the name of a work in progress until it is published because they don’t want anyone to steal their title.

It’s easy to understand why authors would feel that way. You can’t copyright a title and sometimes finding a good one is harder than writing the freaking book. That causes two things to happen:

1. A lot of books have the same title as at least one other book; and

2. A lot of books have bizarre titles that are hard to remember, like The Return of the Revenge of the Curse of the Son of the Bride of Vampire Ninja vs. Robot Space Monkeys, Part II.

So it is not that terribly surprising that Stephen King has a book with the same title as that of another author.  Emily Schultz published her debut novel, Joyland, in 2006. Stephen King’s Joyland was released in 2013.

What I do find surprising is that the coincidence seemed to result in a sales spike for Ms. Schultz. According to The Telegraph article, a lot of those purchases were made by people who thought they were buying the King book. I guess I can see how someone might make that mistake. Still, the author’s name on the cover should be a clue. Continue reading

Comment Courtesy

Out of the frying pan into the fireMercury is in retrograde. I don’t know what that means, but that is what someone told me about why people seem to be a little touchier than usual.

Sure, there are always some dark alleyways on the internet where you can count on seeing or participating in some sort of cyber-brawl. Indies Unlimited is not one of those places.

We like civil, even-spirited debate, and there is no reason it can’t be respectful debate. We have a comment policy that spells it out pretty well. Nevertheless, I’ve seen a couple of weird things going on of late that I want to bring out in the open: Continue reading

Trigger Warning Template

scaredLynne Cantwell wrote an excellent article on the relatively new trend of providing trigger warnings for books.

Of course, it is impossible to know what might offend or shock another person. This can make it difficult to write a trigger warning that would accomplish the desired objective. It is also important to authors that any trigger warnings avoid creating spoilers, ruining carefully-crafted and suspenseful passages in the book for readers who may not have such delicate sensibilities.

Obviously, someone needed to step up and provide a ready-to-use template for these trigger warnings. We’re here to help. We asked our crack legal team* to come up with a template that could be used to meet these complex criteria. You’re welcome. Continue reading